Principal Investigators:
Young-Jin Lee, Marek Pruski

Key Scientific Personnel:
Igor Slowing


This research project aims to develop a nanoparticle technology for efficient and economical extraction methods for harvesting suitable chemical compounds, such as triglycerides, neutral lipids, and fatty acids, from microalgae for biodiesel production and single-step conversion to biodiesel.  Our proposal involves the use of nanoparticles to perform the following two stages, with superior efficiency in terms of yield, simplicity of processing and energy consumption.

  1. Simple, selective and efficient extraction of fatty acids by recyclable mesoporous nanoparticles possessing large surface areas and volumes and adjustable pore size.
  2. One step conversion of the extracted fatty acids into biodiesel by reusable, highly reactive nanoparticle based catalyst (Catilin method).


This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy under grant Grant No. DE-FG26-0NT08854 through the Ames Laboratory. The Ames Laboratory is operated for the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences by Iowa State University under Contract No. DE-AC02-07CH11358.

This project concluded September 30, 2012.


Lee Y J; Leverence R C; Smith E A; Valenstein J S; Kandel K; Trewyn B G . 2013. High-Throughput Analysis of Algal Crude Oils Using High Resolution Mass Spectrometry. Lipids. 48:297-305. abstract
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Huang Y L; Deng W H; Guo E R; Chung P W; Chen S; Trewyn B G; Brown R C; Lin V S Y . 2012. Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticle-Stabilized and Manganese-Modified Rhodium Nanoparticles as Catalysts for Highly Selective Synthesis of Ethanol and Acetaldehyde from Syngas. Chemcatchem. 4:674-680. abstract
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Valenstein J S; Kandel K; Melcher F; Slowing I I; Lin V S Y; Trewyn B G . 2012. Functional Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for the Selective Sequestration of Free Fatty Acids from Microalgal Oil. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 4:1003-1009. abstract
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Huang Y L; Xu S; Lin V S Y . 2011. New Strategy for Enantioselective Heterogeneous Catalysis: Immobilization of both Metal Nanoparticles and Chiral Modifiers on Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles. Chemcatchem. 3:690-694. abstract
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Mao K; Kobayashi T; Wiench J W; Chen H T; Tsai C H; Lin V S Y; Pruski M . 2010. Conformations of Silica-Bound (Pentafluorophenyl)propyl Groups Determined by Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy and Theoretical Calculations. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 132:12452-12457. abstract
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